Speakers powered by smart assistants are becoming dime-a-dozen commodities. In most cases, a smart speaker is good for voice commands, but I haven’t found their musical reproduction particularly satisfying. Riva Audio’s Riva Concert changed that for me.

The Riva Concert is part of Riva Audio’s new Voice line of smart speakers that also includes the larger Riva Stadium. But the Riva Concert isn’t just another Alexa-powered gadget. This sweet-sounding portable speaker is built to satisfy music lovers, with refined high-tech features you don’t often see in smart speakers.

Physical features

Unpacking the Riva, I noted its heavy, solid build. There’s nothing cheap or flimsy about the Concert. Under the hood, you’ll find a 50-watt Class D amplifier powering the three active drivers and three passive radiators.

The Riva Concert is beautifully designed. From a distance, I could see where one might mistake the Concert for a Sonos Play:1. The Concert’s silver metal grille wraps around the entire unit, sandwiched between white (the color of my review sample) or black top and bottom caps. The speaker is sleek, smart, and built to blend into any decor.

The Concert sports five large and clearly marked buttons arranged in a circular motif on the unit’s top. Riva says the touch-sensitive control buttons are splash-resistant, which will handy if you use the device in the kitchen.

The four buttons encircling the perimeter are for volume up/down, and next/previous song. The “previous song” button doubles for forced wireless pairing, and the “next song” button switches the Riva’s inputs. Inputs are located on the back directly above the power cord.

Riva Concert's physical control buttons. Theo Nicolakis / IDG

Riva Concert’s physical control buttons.

The inner ring around the Alexa privacy (mute) button is an LED that glows different colors to indicate which mode the speaker is in. White means the Concert is connected to a Wi-Fi network, or that a USB device is connected for playback. Green indicates Spotify Connect is engaged. Blue means you’re streaming from a Bluetooth device. Red means you’ve selected the AUX input. And yellow indicates Direct Connect Wi-Fi.

There’s a 3.5mm analog aux input for feeding an audio signal from a smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player. The Riva Concert’s USB charging port functions for both audio in and power out to charge your smart device. The Concert is smartly designed for your bedside table or on-the-go use. I loved being able to use the Riva as my primary charging station to eliminate clutter.